Award Books by Genre: Goodreads Choice Award/Nominee

The Nightingale book jacket
Hannah, Kristin
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Originally I was interested in this book because it was highly praised among those who read it. It portrays two sisters and their lives in World War II. One named Isabelle and one named Vianne, it shows the different courses of their lives but in the end their own impact made on those around them. If you are interested in learned about women’s contribution in war this book is for you! I would recommend this book to anyone looking to expand their perspective on war, but be aware this book does touch on some topics that may be triggering. Overall, the Nightingale was a wonderful read that gave me more insight to women’s lives at the time and their contributions.

Grade 10

Reviewer's Name: Lilly
The Silent Patient book jacket
Michaelides, Alex
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Enthralling, captivating, and unexpecting are all words that can be used to describe The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, an irresistible and stunning psychological thriller. The suspense from the first chapter is palpable, and the skillfully laid out plot leaves the reader second-guessing until the very end. It is truly, in the full sense of the word, a thriller, full of curveballs and red herrings, multidimensional realistic characters, thick, palpable emotions… The list goes on. Michaelides’ wonderful writing style and the perfect plot pace were just the cherry on top.

The plot is utterly outstanding. From the first words, the protagonist, Alicia Berenson, shocks the reader with an unspeakable act of violence: she killed her husband. Why? That is the sole question I found myself asking the whole book. An even bigger question: why did she fall silent after the murder? And will she ever speak again? An added layer of complexity is her new psychotherapist, Theo Faber, who is anything but perfect. Theo’s obsession with Alicia raises another question: why is he obsessed? What are his motivations? As the plot unfolds, the mystery behind Alicia’s silence uncovers vast psychological trauma and the lies of her close friends and family. As the plot thickens, Michaelides creates a haunting setting as he delves into the intricacies of the human mind. It becomes evident that this novel is well-thought-out and plentifully researched to draw the reader into a realistic setting. Honestly, I have no criticism of The Silent Patient and could not recommend it enough for anyone looking for a suspenseful plot-twisty psychological thriller.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
It Ends With Us book jacket
Hoover, Colleen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"It Ends With Us" by Colleen Hoover is a real and effective novel that explores the story of Lily Blossom and Ryle Kincaid. This book very evidently gives off the message, that it is okay to not be normal. To be scared to make tough choices. I think of this book as Hoover's courageous attempt in relation to her personal life to share awareness about abuse and harassment. I believe reading this novel will help change many lives that have been held under similar circumstances. This narrative will help teach people that sometimes, moving on or letting go is the best decision you can make for yourself. I felt proud when Lily was able to make extremely hard life-changing decisions to prioritize herself and her happiness. She is a character to admire and love. Hoover has derived so many layers to each character which adds depth to the story as a whole. Colleen Hoover’s subject is heartbreaking, but in our lives, it’s become such an ordinary deal that we naturally begin to avert our eyes easily from such content.
Love has no boundaries, but your health does. Real love should not end in excruciating pain. Taking your chances will only result in you getting used to the affliction.

Reviewer's Name: Caroline
All Your Perfects book jacket
Hoover, Colleen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"All Your Perfects" by Colleen Hoover is a deep, emotional novel that delves into the complexities of marriage and the impact it has on the physical and emotional well-being of its characters. The story primarily revolves around Quinn and Graham, a couple who were once so deeply in love but find their relationship strained by the challenges of infertility, putting their marriage to the test. Colleen Hoover's narrative represents a tale of love, loss, and resilience, exploring the ups and downs of this couple's journey.
I give "All Your Perfects" a solid 4-star rating because the book shines in its depiction of the many struggles people face in maintaining a healthy, thriving marriage. I love how it addresses the issue of infertility, shedding light on how it can strain even the most loving relationships. This novel also doesn't shy away from the emotional toll this takes on the characters, which makes it a relatable and thought-provoking read for those who have faced similar challenges. Hoover's writing is very engaging, and she masterfully captures the depth of the emotional agitation that couples may tend to experience when dealing with such issues. This novel clearly excels in its portrayal of human vulnerability and the strength it takes to navigate the complexities of love and marriage, making it a compelling read.

Reviewer's Name: Caroline
The Fault in Our Stars book jacket
Green, John
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

John Green's "The Fault in Our Stars" is a heartwarming and pleasant YA novel that explores a variety of themes like love, illness, and essence. This particular story follows the narrative of Hazel and Augustus, two teenagers who battle cancer and embark on a journey of love and self-discovery together.
I rate "The Fault in Our Stars" 3 out of 5 stars for its easy readability, enjoyable narrative, and the extremely important message it conveys about cancer awareness through Hazel's and Augustus' characters. It is an incredibly nice, short book to read, particularly for audiences who are young adults. However, compared to some of the other books I've read, it doesn't delve as deeply and lacks the complex storytelling that I often seek while reading. While it certainly has its lovely positives that I enjoyed, the book, in my opinion, falls a little short in terms of depth and construction, which is why I choose to give it a 3-star rating.

Reviewer's Name: Caroline
Crooked Kingdom book jacket
Bardugo, Leigh
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Crooked Kingdom is a sequel to Six of Crows, both of which are set in the Grishaverse. It is the story of how Kaz Brekker and his crew as they try to con Jan Van Eck out of his money before he builds an empire with the deadly substance, parem.

As with the last book, the characters are the standouts. Every member of the cast is fleshed out, and you can understand every decision they make. Jesper, Matthias, and Wylan are the standouts in this book. Each of them continue on their arcs in a natural way that leaves their characters feeling complete. Jesper realizes that many of his problems come from hiding his true self as a grisha. Matthias finally sees the beauty in the grisha. Wylan overcomes his father's influence and sees him for what he is.

The plot has constant twists and turns, but is still easy to follow. As the story progresses, the challenges the group faces continually grow more difficult. The characters have to change their plans multiple times to keep up with the growing influence of their adversaries. This story markets itself as a fun fantasy heist, and it more than succeeds in that. It might not say anything particularly meaningful, but it has a few nice messages sprinkled in there.

My main problem with this book is with Inej. Her arc was more or less completed in the last book, and this book doesn't have much for her to do. There's a brief crisis where she believes Kaz only keeps her around because she's useful, but that's resolved rather quickly. She has a rivalry with a character named Dunyasha, but nothing is done with that either. She beats Inej once, then loses the next time they fight. It doesn't make Inej grow or change. It just exists. It might not have bothered me so much if it wasn't built up as this incredible rivalry. I felt that the book wanted her to remain one of the main characters, but had to make up excuses for her to still be in the spotlight.

However, that one critique is rather small. Overall, Crooked Kingdom is a delightfully fun book. I would recommend it to any Grishaverse fans, fantasy fans, or heist fans.

Reviewer's Name: Rose
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes book jacket
Collins, Suzanne
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel story taking place before the events of the hunger games, and is about president Snow before he becomes president. This book was interesting because it shows Snow as a mentor to a tribute from district 12 during the tenth annual hunger games. You also hear a lot about Snow’s internal monologue which can get a little creepy because some of his actions actually make sense despite them being twisted. The book was a lot longer than any of the original hunger games books so it was a little slow which made it boring at times, but it was interesting to see Snow slowly morph into the twisted and feared villain he is later. The love story in the book was also strange because Snow would be the last person you would think of to show compassion and even Suzanne Collins can confirm this throughout his internal monologue. Overall, I think this is a great book to read if you enjoyed the hunger games series and there is a movie adaptation coming out this November which was one of my reasons for reading it.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Cara
We Were Liars book jacket
Lockhart, E.
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

We were liars is a young adult drama/thriller. It’s about the seemingly perfect Sinclair family and their summer private island. Cadence Sinclair is the heir to the Sinclair fortune and going to the island during the summers is what she looks forward to during the year. However, after an accident and two summers missed on the island, Cadence returns with little memory and a suspicious feeling.

This was an overall good book to read. It got a little slow at times, but it was not predictable and kept me on the edge of my seat. I will say I was expecting a predictable ending but the plot twist completely blew me away! It’s also not very long and a quick read but with a lot of emotions. E. Lockhart did a good job at making me feel things. I laughed, I cried, and had more than one jaw dropper. I would rate it a 3 just because it got a little boring and confusing, but I would recommend!

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Cara
Crying in H Mart
Zauner, Michelle
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Ever read a book that made you physically hungry? For me, that book is Crying in H Mart, a beautifully written memoir of loss and cultural identity mended together with the power of food and memory: the author, Michelle Zauner, a half-American half-Korean, struggles to navigate her cultural identity. Throughout the memoir, Zauner delves into her childhood memories, the times spent in Korea with her family, and the lasting influence of her mother's teachings. Her descriptions of traditional Korean dishes, their preparation, and the emotions tied to them are not only mouthwatering but also serve as a metaphor for the soul-stirring nostalgia she seeks to preserve. It is a book that stays with you long after the last page, reminding us of the preciousness of family, culture, and love.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue book jacket
Schwab, Victoria
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is about a French girl who did not want to get married and prayed to a dangerous higher being made a deal. The deal makes Addie cursed to live until she gets tired of living and not being able to remember as she lives. Throughout the novel Addie is alone for 300 years her only company this higher being who enjoys to mock her. Finally after 300 years someone remembers her.
The novel is written in a bit of a slow pace, but it slowly builds up as it goes on. The novel switches between the past of characters lives and the present. The ending is a little surprising. The book is worth the read.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Hana
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes book jacket
Collins, Suzanne
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If you have read the Hunger Games series, then you know that President Snow is the main villain and set a iron grip on the Districts of Panem. I you haven't read the trilogy, then might I highly suggest you do.
This book takes place decades before the trilogy starts and we read through Coriolanus Snow's eyes before he becomes the president and monster of Panem. Coriolanus has already set himself up to be in a position of power even as a young adult, and after his city was besieged, and his parents died, the Snow name and fortune left in ruins. Coriolanus Snow has decided that he will never be the weaker side again. The Hunger Games were not a new event for Panem during the time yet they were never popular, now though Coriolanus and his class are each assigned a tribute to make the Games finally noticed. Coriolanus has been assigned the girl of District 12, perhaps the worst choice available, or so he thinks.

Reviewer's Name: Xzavier
Turtles All the Way Down book jacket
Green, John
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green is a very insightful novel that explores themes of mental health, friendship, and self-discovery. The story follows the life of 16-year-old Aza Holmes, a young girl who is struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety, as she navigates the challenges of adolescence and tries to solve a mystery involving a missing billionaire. Aza's struggles with mental health serving as a powerful critique of the ways in which society can stigmatize and marginalize those with mental illnesses. Her relationships with her best friend Daisy and her love interest Davis provide an intriguing exploration of the challenges of friendship and the complexities of romantic relationships. Green’s prose perfectly captures the voice of a young girl struggling with mental illness- his descriptions of Aza’s thought processes and compulsions are vivid and immersive, offering a nuanced portrayal of the experience of living with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. His use of metaphor, such as the titular “turtles all the way down,” adds depth and meaning to the story, inviting readers to reflect on the deeper themes of the novel. I loved the depth and detail that this book had, and I feel like each and every character had so many layers to them that really helped me visualize the story as I read. Turtles All the Way Down is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, and I plan to read it again. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys coming of age, narrative style books with strong takeaways.

Reviewer Grade: 11.

Reviewer's Name: Addison
Sleeping Giants book jacket
Neuvel, Sylvain
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Sylvain Neuvel's "Sleeping Giants" is the first book in a series of three fantastic novels about alien technology and what it means to be human. This book was lent to me by my father, so I knew it had to be amazing. I was not wrong in that assumption. My favorite part about this book is likely the most divisive part: the format. This book is explained in an interview format, between each character and a mysterious interviewer that is developed further in the later installments of this series. At first, I wasn't sure if I would like how jarringly different this format is; sometimes it is noticeable when the author wanted to convey some important information, but the constant interview made the information difficult to show. It wasn't exclusively interviews; occasionally a mission log was used for variety's sake. My least favorite part of the book is actually what wasn't included in the book. It sounds picky, but I think that this book had room for more. The cliffhanger, while masterfully executed, came too soon. Not enough happened before the book ended, so I was left immediately scrambling to acquire the other 2 books in the series. The book, and especially the series as a whole, is absolutely surprising at nearly every step. Characters assumed narratively immortal die, and enemies turn into friends that save the world in the third book. Each character had interesting flaws and contrasting personalities, so each character introduced to us through the mysterious interviewer felt like someone you could meet walking down the street. All in all, this book is definitely one of the best books I have read this year.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Ryder
Other Birds book jacket
Allen, Sarah Addison
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

"Other Birds" is a slice of life story with mild paranormal elements. It does not have a high stakes plot, but rather focuses on the personal struggles of the characters. Overall it is a very refreshing and relaxing read. The paranormal element is not explored much, but it adds to the book's charm. The prose is lovely, especially regarding descriptions of food.
All of the characters are fairly interesting. Charlotte, Mac, and Lizbeth were my favorites. They all had interesting pasts and clear personalities. Zoey and Oliver were also interesting, but felt a little under developed. Lucy is only present for about a dozen pages. She's not so much of a character as she is a mystery, and she serves that role well.
The twists in this book are all fairly solid. I guessed one of them immediately, but it still felt impactful. I didn't guess one, but it didn't add anything to the story. Two of them were genuine surprises, and added depth to the story.
This book is not incredible, but it is thoroughly enjoyable and heartwarming. I would recommend it to lovers of character driven stories.

Reviewer's Name: Rose
The Magic Fish book jacket
Trung Le Nguyen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This graphic novel has a really interesting way of storytelling- it has multiple stories running simultaneously that add depth to one another. The author uses fairy tales, like the Magic Fish, to represent the actual characters in the main story. It follows a young boy who struggles to tell his mother he is gay and he experiences a crush on one of his close friends. It touches on some sensitive topics but ends really sweetly. Another bonus is the gorgeous artwork and use of color in the different storylines. Despite being a quick read, it was meaningful and a good story.

Reviewer's Name: Lauren
Family of Liars book jacket
Lockhart, .E
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Back to the beautiful family of Sinclairs, still liars. Family of Liars, the prequel to We Were Liars, takes readers back to the private island of the Sinclairs. What really happened in that tragedy two years ago? Or was it even one tragedy at all? This E Lockhart book will leave you captivated once again. The book may even cause you to return to E. Lochart's first Liars book to realign all the pieces of the mystery. Will the dots be connected or will more mystery unravel?
11th grade

Reviewer's Name: McKenna
We Were Liars book jacket
Lockhart, E.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

We Were Liars is a young adult mystery by E Lockhart that will grab your attention from the first page. The story describes a beautiful, rich, and perfect (as seen from the outside), family, the Sinclairs. But the Sinclairs have things to hide. When Cadence Sinclair shows up with her cousins on the Sinclair's private island they expect a summer of fun. However, a tragedy of two years ago comes back to haunt and Cadence's migraine pills aren't helping her keep the facts of the incident straight. This story leaves you wondering as new mystery is continuously added. With still more mystery at the end, the book will make you question even more than just the Sinclairs.
11th grade

Reviewer's Name: McKenna
Nona the Ninth book jacket
Muir, Tamsyn
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Nona the Ninth is the third book in the Locked Tomb series. It was an unprecedented addition, as the series was originally meant to be a trilogy that would end with Alecto the Ninth. And after reading this book, I couldn't imagine the series any other way. This book takes a step away from our principle protagonists and inter-planetary conflict to zoom in on Nona, a young woman who has technically only been alive for six months. She is a great teacher's aid, a fantastic dog watcher, and a caring friend. As her city crumbles around her and the secrets of her origin begin to come to light, Nona must keep trust in herself and the people she loves if she hopes to make it to her birthday.
I've seen a lot of reviews comparing this book to the first two in the series. In my opinion, there is no comparison to be made between any of them. The first is a thriller mystery in a nightmare castle with newfound friends. The second is a psychological horror story that occasionally becomes a soap opera. The third is slice of life, and the most heartbreaking of all three. I agree fully with the choice to make this a separate book, instead of trying to cram this into a climactic series ending. The series needed time to breathe from the revelations and consequences of the first two books, and to develop many of the wonderful side characters. On this note, the side characters in this book ruined me. They are constantly hilarious. They are perpetually heartbreaking. They have so much love for each other and it tears me apart. They are also fantastically developed, to the point where the thought of losing any of them almost stopped me from finishing the book. A large part of what made them special was seeing them through Nona's eyes, which was a fantastic combination of naively loving and strangely perceptive. Speaking of which, Nona's perspective was a special treat. Throughout the series, the author usually increases tension and intrigue by seriously limiting someone’s perspective. Previously this had been by outside parties hiding information or the unreliability of the narrator, but Nona being a mental six-month-old was a special treat. She attempts to relay everything with accuracy, but with limited experience and vocabulary the audience is forced to experience everything with fresh eyes to try to see it for what it is. Beyond all this, the story shined in all the usual departments for this series. The humor was exceptional, probably the funniest the series has been since the beginning of Gideon the Ninth. I particularly enjoyed the dream sequence narrations, as they were beautiful, insightful, and insanely funny. Sometimes I feel like Muir makes nearly every one of her characters funny so they can rip your heart out later with a little extra oomph. The worldbuilding continues to be a harrowing endeavor in the best way, as you have to take the time to figure it out for yourself with what little glimpses the book gives you. The only complaint I feel like someone could make about this book is that the pacing was pretty slow in the beginning to establish the ensemble cast, but I loved every minute of it so I can’t complain.
In conclusion, this book is another triumph for the Locked Tomb trilogy, and I can’t wait to see what comes next! I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves found family, slice of life stories, lots of explosions, zombie princes, and dogs with too many legs!
Reviewer Grade: 12

Reviewer's Name: Eve
The Golem and the Jinni book jacket
Wecker, Helene
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The book, "The Golem and the Jinni" was a fantastic book for several reasons. However, before I get to those reasons, I'd like to explain more about how I chose this book. I was in need of a book for entertainment. Typically, I like to investigate what books are similar to others that I have enjoyed before I visit the library, but this visit was more impromptu. A book was grabbed off the shelf, and I began to read it.
As for the book itself, I enjoyed the historical accuracy the most. Although I was not alive during the described time period, I enjoy the subtle nuance in architectural designs and consistent description between different characters (albeit with a different view for each character; Saleh obviously doesn't describe location unless it reflects faces, until... a spoiler). I enjoyed the inconclusive details the least; without spoiling too much, a lot of the information explained about a Golem's behavior simply never matters, or never comes up. When I first catalogued the details provided to me, I assumed that at least some of it would be relevant to the plot. The vast majority never was. The book was still surprising; the information dump near the climax was amazing for how much it concluded, even if I still complain about the information that was never resolved. The characters are relatable because they aren't relatable. Social situation are difficult for both the Golem and the Jinni, albeit for different reasons. This isn't one of the best books I've read this year, but I'll give it a 4/5 for amazing descriptions of the setting and lovable characters.
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Ryder
Atomic Habits book jacket
Clear, James
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Atomic Habits, written by James Clear, details the formation of beneficial habits and the decimation of detrimental habits. Clear explains the importance of simply showing up for habits. He implements the two minute rule to develop habits: when starting a habit, one should only spend two minutes doing that habit. For example, show up to the gym, work out for two minutes, and then leave. Over time, this creates the ideology that, "well, I am already here [at the gym] so I might as well stay here a little longer and exercise." Primary, this serves to establish the fact that "I am not the kind of person to skip workouts." Clear also describes how we fail to develop successful habits. He insightfully notes that "the greatest threat to success in not failure, but boredom." Remarkably, boredom is one of the largest predicaments humans have. When people are bored, they not only impede their ability to succeed, but they also form bad habits, such as looking at social media. Thus, to be successful people have to be disciplined when they are bored. They have to be "all weather mediators", where your feelings and emotions do not impede your goal of sucess.

Reviewer's Name: Finn